Ever since human beings coalesced in actual societies people have found ways to cheat from taxes to sports.
The history of cheating and video games is long and varied. In fact cheating goes all the way back to the earliest days of gaming, when developers started putting cheat codes into their games to allow them to skip levels in order to test their functionality more quickly.
Although many of these codes weren’t intended to be disclosed publicly, some early gamers were still quite interested in examining the underlying code of many games.
In detail meaning it wasn’t long before they started finding exploits.
Some of these were even used to try and fix.
Underlying issues such as an early trainer program for Castle, Wolfenstein launched in the mid-1980s, which promised to fix bugs and crashes. But also gave players access to additional items and level skips. Other times gamers just discovered these debugging codes on their own instead of relying on commercially available trainers for additional functionality.
The developers usually didn’t bother to take these out before the games were released.
The famous Konami code which is now an Easter egg on many websites is a notable example of this. Before long developers took notice of the fact that she codes made their games more appealing. They started actively putting them into games with the intent that players would use them back in the 80s and 90s.
Chasing down the almighty high score was the holy grail of many a gamer meaning codes for things like infinite lives could help them reach scores that were previously unattainable.
Even if players didn’t care about maxing out their scores, cheese provided a new way to experience titles that a gamer had already beaten.
For example Mortal Kombat featured a code that wasn’t really a cheat.
But enabled Gore in the game which was disabled by default because some politicians in the US thought a little bit of 2d blood was far too much for the masses to handle.
By the mid 1990s cheat codes were wildly popular and the demand for them was so high that gamers didn’t want to be restricted.
Products like the Game Shark, which is an action replay, hit the market.
Cartridges that manipulated the code were inserted into them.
In this way players could discover their own sheets. Even in games that didn’t have any built in.
Nintendo did not appreciate this and try to litigate cheat cartridges out of existence by saying that they were infringing upon copyrights. Courts disagreed and the devices remained popular well into the late 1990s and early 2000s.
But in the mid 2000s the popularity of cheat codes plummeted, rapidly.
But why did gamers just suddenly have a change of heart well sort of back when she codes were the height of cool. They were typically found primarily by reading gaming magazines or simply by word of mouth. Making gamers that had them feel like they’re a part of some super rad secret society. But internet search engines came along and blew up that entire paradigm.
Since now, anyone can look up a code in a matter of seconds.
But what really killed off the traditional cheat code was the achievement system that was introduced around the same time. Online play became a key feature of first PC.
Later console gaming gamers now chase down achievement points like they did.
Achievements became frowned upon as an undermine those who poured tons of time and effort into acquiring them honestly.
And for those who care more about online multiplayer than single-player.
Achievements online game services like Xbox Live started aggressively banning cheaters in order to provide a level playing field for the millions of gamers who log onto their servers.
Of course this doesn’t mean that cheats don’t still exist while cheat codes are much rarer in games than they used to be. Many games still contain secrets or Easter eggs that can be discovered in ways other than entering codes.
Exploits are still used by speed-runners to beat games in record time.